So I finally got my A-Level results, I’m going to University and I have never been so pleased in my educational career.
However, alongside my celebrations and preparation for this new phase one statement has been playing on my mind ‘you are not your grades’. As positive and optimistic as I am, this is one statement that teachers and peers would glitter around and I just couldn’t accept it. If I wasn’t my grades why did I feel like a failure when I fell short of anything lower than an A? If I wasn’t my grades why are students who get 100% treated like they are super-humans? If I wasn’t my grades why do I feel sick when I’m receiving my results for a simple end of term test?
Attending a grammar school for 7 years and being very driven in my education meant that good grades meant a whole lot to me. It was all about getting 100%, being the best, striving to be on top. Where some people may praise my ambition and others may roll their eyes at my ‘neeky-ness’ in hindsight one thing is apparent; in striving for perfection I was ruining my educational experience.
I never felt like what I was doing was enough. I would push myself until there were tears in my eyes and I felt completely helpless. I couldn’t accept the statement ‘you are not your grades’ because, alongside my ambition, everything around me was telling me otherwise. If you got 100% you were superhuman, you were the one put in the most effort, you were the one everyone should strive to be like. If you got an A* you were treated like an A* and I wanted to be treated like an A*. Not because I thought I was amazing, or incredibly intelligent but because I worked hard and I wanted someone to recognise that.
Me at school
The education system felt like doing the heptathlon. The heptathlon consists of seven events which are a mixture of track and field and even though I worked incredibly hard, track was where I excelled. Despite this because I struggled (but still tried very hard) in the field events, I felt less worthy as a student because I wasn’t the best in every single event. I felt like I wasn’t intelligent, I questioned whether I actually worked hard and got so disheartened when someone would tell me to set my standards lower than I wanted to.
Watch: KyraWills – My A-Level Fail
There comes a point where, no matter your level of ambition, you begin to feel pressure, doubt and sometimes sadness when you feel your grades dictate how valuable you are. This should not be the case. You aren’t your grades. You aren’t. You are a person. You are so much more than a letter. And I’m saying this to those who get A*s too. Sure that’s what you achieve- which is great, but that doesn’t and never should, dictate how valuable you think you are.
That’s not to say that grades don’t matter- they do. It’s important to work hard, it’s important to strive for YOUR best but regardless of whether or not you get an A* or a D you are still worthy.
This is you regardless
I wish someone said that to me and I actually believed it during my time at school because it would have made my experience a lot happier. I would have felt like I was in competition with myself as opposed to my classmates or league tables. I would have felt like an intelligent person, rather than a percentage.
It was not until finally receiving my place at University that I did some reflection. All the effort that I put in, all the drive and ambition that I had to prove myself as worthy taught me that I am not my grades. No matter what my grades were, they did not increase or decrease my value as a person.
We can be so hard on ourselves, convincing ourselves that if we are not the best we will ruin our lives when in truth the only thing that can ruin your life is your mindset. Strive to succeed and put in the work and you will get there in the end, it may take longer than expected but you will get there.
I used to always feel like I was stupid and often found myself saying ‘I’m not smart’ something my parents would always chastise me for. I saw my grades as a reflection of my intelligence and worthiness, so when I fell short of expectations I could feel like rubbish for days. Truth is, that’s not what education is about, although that’s what the system has made it about (that’s a post for another day). But I think the best way to ensure you’re not played by a system which has lost the true meaning of education (a desire and passion to learn and grow) is to do your best. Try your best, push yourself and remember that ultimately it’s not a letter that dictates who you are but you do.
If you don’t believe anything I’ve said watch Legally Blonde
Keep smiling and slaying
I blogged about my sixth form experience for UCAS progress from Year 12-13, check it out below and click here to vote for me as blogger of the month.